Rural decline needs action
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has said that the best way to judge a country’s economic prosperity is to look at its rural areas, not its cities.
As a resident of a rural part of southern Taiwan, I was deeply moved by her words, and I sincerely hope the government can come up with a concrete and comprehensive cross-departmental plan to revitalize the nation’s rural areas and initiate more efforts to rejuvenate Taiwan’s agricultural communities.
Newly industrialized countries that have built their economies based on an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) development model typically run into a dilemma when their standard of living begins to rise, causing them to lose their OEM business advantage.
After companies move their manufacturing away, such countries face the typical post-OEM economic problems of high unemployment and economic stagnation.
Rural areas, in particular, have to deal with the additional pressure of an aging and dwindling population, coupled with a lack of economic vitality and loss of traditional culture.
Over time, villages in rural areas become empty or even disappear. This is highly detrimental to the nation’s overall development, as it leads to distributional imbalance and other serious consequences.
Researchers in Japan warned of such dangers as early as 1962. In 1970, the Japanese government passed a law on emergency measures for areas with overly sparse populations. From that point on, every 10 years Tokyo would review the results and revise or make new laws, with a law on special measures to revitalize areas with sparse populations announced in 1980, followed by another one of a similar nature in 1990.
Starting from 2000, following the passage of a law on special incentives for areas with sparse populations, the interval between each review on the law’s effects has been extended 20 years.
Although the government’s ongoing efforts have produced some positive effects, they have been unable to reverse the trend of marginalization of the nation’s rural communities.
Over the past few decades, Taiwan’s rural communities have lost a lot of vitality as much of their population has moved to urban areas.
Furthermore, former governments’ policies of keeping rice prices low exploited the economy of farming areas and deprived them of their dignity.
There are abundant warning signs that farming villages in Taiwan are already disappearing. If society does not care and the government fails to come up with countermeasures, there will be irreversible consequences.
People should pay more attention to the issue of disappearing agricultural communities and urge the government to work on revitalizing them.
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
At the end of last month, Paraguayan Ambassador to Taiwan Marcial Bobadilla Guillen told a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators that his president had decided to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, despite pressure from the Chinese government and local businesses who would like to see a switch to Beijing. This followed the Paraguayan Senate earlier this year voting against a proposal to establish ties with China in exchange for medical supplies. This constituted a double rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) diplomatic agenda in a six-month span from Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America. Last year, Tuvalu rejected an
US President Donald Trump’s administration on Friday last week announced it would impose sanctions on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a vast paramilitary organization that is directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and has been linked to human rights violations against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The sanctions follow US travel bans against other Xinjiang officials and the passage of the US Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which authorizes targeted sanctions against mainland Chinese and Hong Kong officials, in response to Beijing’s imposition of national security legislation on the territory. The sanctions against the corps would be implemented
US President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders barring Americans from conducting business with WeChat owner Tencent Holdings and ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of popular video-sharing app TikTok. The orders are to take effect 45 days after they were signed, which is Sept. 20. The orders accuse WeChat of helping the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) review and remove content that it considers to be politically sensitive, and of using fabricated news to benefit itself. The White House has accused TikTok of collecting users’ information, location data and browsing histories, which could be used by the Chinese government, and pose